Here is my 10-point plan for America:
1. A Strong Economy Benefits Everyone.The United States economy ought to be the strongest in the world. Our nation’s most important resource — its people — means that it can and will-out compete any other nation. We do and should continue to have the highest standard of living. Economic policy that opens us to free trade with the world and promotes our unmatchable advantage in knowledge, technology and economic freedom will keep this country strong.
2. Bold Leadership for a Free World. America represents an example to the world which we should be proud to share. Spreading the ideals of democracy, rule of law, tolerance and freedom is the only strategy that can fully and finally achieve peace and security for Americans and all the people of the world. We must take every measure necessary to meet those current threats to our nation’s security represented by Islamic terrorists, which include improving border security, rooting out terrorist enclaves and supporters around the world, and giving support to those who are also threatened. But we should remember that such measures can only contain the threat. Our real goal must be the long-term and strategic promotion of those bedrock democratic principles, whether in Iraq, Iran, Palestine, North Korea, China, Russia or here at home, that are the most important gift we as Americans have for the world.
3. Fiscal Responsibility. Our economic well-being is threatened by run-away government largess. Taxes take money out of the private sector — hard earned money out the pockets of Americans. Americans entrust their money to the government with the implicit understanding that it will be used well and to the real benefit of the country as a whole. All government spending must be scrutinized. Fat must be cut. Programs must show their value to be implemented or maintained. Even so-called “sacred cow” programs, such as social security, medicare, and agricultural subsidies — must meet the test. Tax rates should never be raised to fund pork programs, subsidize government employment or pay for programs that cannot be shown to work. The tax system requires radical reform. A system of flat tax rates and consumption taxes should replace the current morass of tax breaks and rebates and taxes on capital gains, inheritance, property and sales.
4. A Solid Environmental Policy Has Boundless Benefits.Hype from the left and the right has created a patchwork environmental policy and lowered the level of discourse. A rational policy on the environment will balance costs and benefits. A comprehensive environmental program will end dependence on foreign oil, protect valuable natural resources from over-exploitation, and prevent irreversible and catastrophic damage to the health and well-being of the earth’s people. It must do so without damaging the strength of the economy, burdening American pocketbooks and limiting our standard of living.
5. Health Cost Reform. At its best, the United States health care system provides the best health care in the world while affording Americans with the most freedom of choice. No reform plan should be allowed to tamper with the success of our health system. But we cannot ignore that a hodgepodge of health care regulation, interest groups and poorly implemented policy have resulted in a system that is becoming less and less affordable not just to individual Americans but to the country as a whole. A radical reform of health care regulation is urgently required. Real and open competition must be returned throughout the system both among care providers and among insurance providers. Only the power of a free market can bring down health care expenses. No central economic plan can ever succeed in controlling costs. Every American should be able to obtain affordable health insurance, but subsidies should be limited to those truly in need.
6. A Welcoming Policy on Immigration. America is a country of immigrants. Immigrants built this nation. Immigrants who come to this nation eager to work, build families and participate in the freedoms and opportunities it offers are never a burden. Rather immigration is a unique benefit of which most nations cannot boast. When the hardest working and brightest depart their native lands to come to our shores, we benefit at the expense of their homelands. Our immigration policy should be encouraging of qualified immigrants willing to come here legally, especially those who by education or ambition are willing and able to perform work that Americans choose not to do. A welcoming legal immigration policy will solve our illegal immigration problem. For those illegal immigrants already in the country, a path to citizenship for those willing to work for it should be provided. For all immigrants, our policies should aim to integrate them quickly and productively into American society.
7. Education Solves All Problems. Some say that there are two Americas. To the extent that it is true, the two Americas are one of well-educated Americans and the other of those who were deprived of educational opportunity. A lack of education is the single most important factor in determining how well one can do in America. The United States provides boundless opportunities to everyone, except those without the requisite education. No investment by government in its people can have more benefit than an investment in education. Educational programs must be grounded on achievement with the goal of making every American able to compete and succeed in a world economy. Standards that have been set must be maintained and made stronger. Equal opportunity must be provided to all Americans, regardless of race, religion, or where they live. Resources must go to those schools and programs that have the greatest effect. Parents ought to have unfettered choice to choose the best educations for their children.
8. Ethical Government is the Safeguard of Democracy.Strict enforcement of governmental ethics laws must be a priority. Corruption must not be allowed at any level. However, ethical reforms must not stifle free speech and the opportunity of candidates and their supporters to make their views known. Free speech is truly a marketplace and this includes the fair opportunity to raise funds to express views. Elections must be open, honest and fair. Election disputes weaken democratic principles. Clean elections that avoid disputes instill confidence in the system and those who are elected.
9. Civil Rights are our Strength. Equal opportunity for all Americans is guaranteed by the Constitution. Government must meet this obligation in deed as well as word. Going further, our country is strong enough to extend, and should extend, protection to every person that is denied opportunities that all Americans should have. There is no moral or legal defense to denying any person opportunities, because of membership in an unpopular or minority group. In particular, educational systems that deny educational choice to some discriminate against poor and minority Americans. Laws that limit the availability of marriage discriminate against gay Americans. But quotas and discriminatory regulations of any sort damage our system of equality by denying opportunity to some.
10. American Values.Everyone seems to have their own idea of what constitutes American values. In fact there are American values, and they are the values that animated the founding of this nation. As articulated so well by Thomas Jefferson, they are the rights of “liberty, equality and the pursuit of happiness.” Noticeably absent from Jefferson’s formulation is anything that would allow, much less require, a majority to legislate how Americans should live their lives. Rather, every American should be granted the fullest liberty from government control and direction. Our capitalist, free society depends on this principal to animate it, unleashing as it does creativity and prosperity unmatched in the world. Every American should be granted the same opportunities available to all other Americans. Our fair and open society depends on this principal to maintain peace and order and justice. Finally, every American should be granted the opportunity to pursue his or her special happiness whatever it may be. Our American society depends on this last principal to make it truly, uniquely and, yes, happily, American.